Tour Cost Per Person:
Minimum 2 participants € 1100 per person in double/twin room sharing
3- 4 participants € 989 per person in double/twin room sharing
5- 6 participants € 852 per person in double/twin room sharing
Single supplement: € 145
Single supplement applies for single travelers or for those travelling together who would prefer a single room.
♦ 5 nights (breakfast & taxes included) in 3-star centrally located hotels, as per itinerary.
♦ Transportation throughout the itinerary by private car. English speaking guide-driver.The guide will drive.
♦ Entrance fees to sights and museums as per itinerary.
Itinerary: Sofia (2 nights) - Plovdiv (1 night) - Veliko Tarnovo (1 night) – Sofia (1 night)
Arrive at Sofia Airport. Your local guide will meetyou at Sofia airport and transfer to your hotel in Sofia, located in downtown area. Overnight in Sofia.
Day 2:All day in Sofia
All day in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital.
Founded more than 7 000 years ago, it has long been an important crossroads between Asia Minor and Europe. Situated in the foot of Mt Vitosha by curing mineral springs, the city is one of the oldest in Europe. Called Serdica in the age of the Thracians, Triaditsa under the Byzantines and Sredets under the Slavs, Sofia attracted ancient and later civilizations.
“Serdica is my Rome!” By the early 4th century, chroniclers already described the settlement of the Thracian tribe Serdi as ‘a splendid and noble city’. This was in the days of Emperor Constantine the Great. Strongly attached to Serdica, the Emperor often called the city his Rome and even intended to proclaim it capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Ultimately, he did not – but he nevertheless built magnificent edifices for the grand ceremonies during his visits.
Sofia was proclaimed capital of Bulgaria in 1879, just a year after the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation of 1877-1878. It is the fourth Bulgarian capital after Pliska, Preslav and Veliko Tarnovo.
In the morning we’ll drive to the outskirts of the city to visit the National Museum of History, where the magnificent Thracian treasures of ancient gold are on display. We’ll also visit the famed Boyana Church, a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site with fascinating frescoes from the 13th century, reflecting both Byzantine and local Christian art traditions. They impress with the humanistic trends, which were unusual for the medieval period. The frescoes were painted by an unknown Bulgarian painter in the style of the Tarnovo School of Painting and are considered the finest examples of Bulgarian medieval art.
In the afternoon we’ll continue our exploration through the downtown area to see some of the most characteristic historical, architectural and cultural landmarks of Bulgaria’s capital. We will see the Roman Serdica Fortifications (3rd-5th centuries) and St. George’s Rotunda (4th century), which is the only building to survive completely, famous for its original architecture and unique frescoes. Painted several times in different ages (4th, 10th – 12th and 14th centuries), the majestic figures illustrate the development of monumental painting over several centuries, making the Rotunda one of the gems of Bulgarian and East European culture.
Other highlights this afternoon will be St. Sofia Basilica (6th century), which is one of the most valuable pieces of early Christian architecture in the Balkans, and the magnificent St. Alexander Nevski Memorial Church, built to the designs of the Russian architect Pomerantsev from 1904 to 1912. The church is a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture, splendidly decorated.
Overnight in Sofia.
Day 3:Sofia-Rila Monastery, UNESCO Site- Plovdiv
Transfer Day: Travel from Sofia to Plovdiv.
In the morning, en route, we’ll stop to see the Rila Monastery, which is the most impressive of all Bulgarian monasteries. Located 90 miles south of Sofia in the Rila Mountains, the monastery is an original national museum with a century-old history.
The monastery dates back to the 10th century, but has been plundered and burned down several times. The present building was built in mid-19th century (1816–1848). Located in the gorgeous mountain scenery of the mountains, it is considered the highest achievement of Bulgarian monumental architecture of the National Revival period (18th-19th centuries). It is also a monument of international significance, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the afternoon we’ll continue our scenic drive through the Rila Mountains, passing via the famous Borovets mountain resort. Late afternoon arrival in Plovdiv and settle in at your hotel located in downtown area. Overnight in Plovdiv.
Day 4:Plovdiv- Kazanlak in the Rose Valley- Shipka Pass in the Balkan Mountains- Etara- Veliko Tarnovo
Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second largest city.
The ancient and picturesque city of Plovdiv has a history that dates back thousands of years, traces of which have survived to the present day. Recently, British archaeologists proclaimed Plovdiv to be the sixth oldest city in the world.
It was founded by the Thracians in the 2nd millennium BCE and called Eumolpia, and has had several names since then, like Philipopolis after Philip II of Macedon (342 BCE); Trimontium, i.e. ‘the City on Three Hills’ during the Roman times when it was the major city of the Roman province of Thrace (1st century CE).
The Old Town was built in the 18th-19th centuries as the center of the Bulgarian National Revival architecture. Along steep cobblestone lanes, behind stone walls and iron-studded heavy oak gates, one could glimpse at verdure and flowers, surrounding the typical Plovdiv symmetrical houses with their painted facades, oriels and jetties and grid windows. Every house here has its own style and atmosphere, its intimate world with carved ceilings and bright murals, window seats and fine furniture from Venice, Vienna and London.
We’ll explore the historical, architectural and cultural landmarks of ancient Plovdiv.
We’ll see the 2nd century Roman forum and stadium, the fabulous Roman amphitheater, which was built during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117), and the fortress walls of ancient Trimontium. We’ll also seefrom outside Dzhumaya mosque which was built as an imperial mosque by Sultan Murad II in 1423. It is said to be one of the three examples of the oldest type of the Ottoman worship buildings still preserved on the Balkan Peninsula.
Our walking sightseeing tour continues in the fascinating Old Town where we’ll visit two museum-houses.
Afternoon depart for Veliko Tarnovo.
We’ll take a scenic drive through the famous Valley of Roses. This is the home of Bulgarian Rosa Damascena, which is the source for the production of the exquisite and rare Bulgarian rose oil, also known as “attar of roses”, used as a key source for many of world’s finest perfumes.
We’ll stop in the town of Kazanlak to visit thereplica of the world-famous Thracian tomb (4th century BC), a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area around Kazanlak became particularly popular in the last two decades, as many new Thracian tombs were unearthed there, presenting the evolution of the Thracian culture in the 5th-4th century BCE. Bulgaria and the world started to speak about the Valley of the Thracian kings. The Kazanlak Thracian Tomb was the first cultural site in Bulgaria which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This mausoleum of 4th century BCE was discovered in 1944. The style is typical for Thracian tombs from the 5th to 4th century BC, with a vaulted entrance corridor and a chamber topped by a beehive dome. The dome frescoes paintings are the greatest treasure of the tomb. They are a masterpiece of Hellenistic art and depict the civil and military life of a Thracian noble who was buried there. The original site is located inside a protected building, and the replica is right next to it and is open to visitors.
In the afternoon we’ll continue our scenic drive through the historical Shipka Pass in the Balkan Mountains, which is one of the most important roads connecting the South and the North part of Bulgaria. It is a famous historical site, due to the dramatic events during the War of Liberation (1877-1878). A bloody battle was fought here in August 1877 when 7500 Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers, held the position against 30,000 Turks. On top of the peak is the Monument of Freedom (over 30 m high), which was built in the period of 1926-1934 honoring to the soldiers who fell in the fierce battle to defend the peak. 894 steps lead up to the monument.
Later, we’ll stop to see the Etara Museum of Architecture and Ethnography. This is an open-air village museum with numerous artisan workshops, the only one of its kind in Southeastern Europe. It displays the authentic atmosphere of a typical Bulgarian town from the period of the National Revival in the 18th – 19th centuries. In the authentic workshops of the museum more than 20 traditional Bulgarian crafts are being practiced in their traditional technological cycle.
Late arrival in Veliko Tarnovo and settle in at your hotel , located in downtown area. Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo.
Day 5: Veliko Tarnovo- Arbanassy- Sofia
Veliko Tarnovo is Bulgaria’s medieval capital city.
The regal city of Veliko Tarnovo with its famed archeological sites was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1396), when Bulgaria was one of the largest states in Europe, until the Ottoman Empire captured it. The city has been at the center of many important historical events and was the birthplace of the first Bulgarian constitution. Perched on steep hills overlooking the Yantra River, the Old Town’s narrow, lantern-lit streets wind past ancient ruins and unique architecture. The Tsarevets Hill is a natural inaccessible fortress perched on a steep hill where the Royal Palace and the Patriarch Church once stood. The Samovodene Market Street has been revived with its small workshops where master goldsmiths, potters, carvers, weavers and pastry cooks keep busy with their crafts. The nearby historical village of Arbanassi was known as the Royal residence of the Second Bulgarian Empire. It holds fast to the traditions of the Old Bulgarian architecture and its oldest stone buildings resemble inaccessible fortresses with their tiny windows like embrasures, but with richly decorated interiors of carvings and wrought iron, recalling the wealthy life of their former inhabitants. Of the 80 preserved houses, 36 have been declared national monuments of culture.
We’ll take a sightseeing walk in the Fortress at Tsarevets Hill. Afterwards we’ll take a short drive to the village-museum of Arbanassi, famous for its traditional architecture and the beautifully decorated Nativity church, dating from the 16th – 17th centuries. Dug into the ground with austere exterior, hidden domes and without a belfry, it is a genuine art gallery containing 3,500 figures painted by unknown masters of different periods.
Afternoon depart for Sofia.
Arrive Sofia and settle at your hotel centrally located.
Transfer from your hotel to Sofia airport. End of our service.
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